I post this every year on my birthday. I started this back in 2004 when Flipper was running for prez which is why there are references to him in this post. Today I am 74 years old. Holy crap! I’m a frickin’ geezer! But I’m not as old as Jimbo. His boitday was nine days ago. I knew that Jon Anderson of Yes was born on this date (He’s two years older than I am) but I also found out that Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest was born on this date as well. So, I share a birthday with two rock stars that I admire. October 25 is my birthday. It is also St. Crispin’s Day which is a very important date in English history.
You’ve heard John Fonda Kerry drone on about his “band of brothers”. Do you know where that phrase came from? No, it wasn’t an HBO special. It came from Shakespeare’s Henry V. It was the speech that King Henry gave before the battle of Agincourt, on St. Crispin’s Day, October 25, 1415, where an outnumbered English army (It was 30,000 French against 6,000 Englishmen) kicked the crap out of the French. They were French after all. Some things never change. Anyway in the spirit of my Hamlet and Marc Antony updates here is the St. Crispin’s Day speech.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day!
Holy shit! We are outnumbered! If we only had some of those bloody bastards who are sitting on their asses back in England!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland?
Why do you want that cuz?
No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss;
Nope, cousin dude. If we’re destined to get our butts kicked there are enough of us.
and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
But if we’re gonna win, think of what an upset it would be. They would talk about us for years. It would be like the Jets beating Baltimore in Super Bowl III.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
I don’t want any more men. We’re fighting the French after all.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Holy crap! I’m not doing this for money.
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
And I don’t care if the dudes with me are doing it for money.
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
I don’t even care if my men wear my uniforms.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
But if it’s a sin to want honor and glory than I am the biggest sinner on the planet.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
Nope! I don’t want any more men.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Nope. If I had just one more man he would take honor away from me. I am the quarterback. Just like Namath I want to shine.
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
Tell the rest of the army,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart;
that if there is anyone who is a pussy, get the fuck out of here.
his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
Give him three purple hearts. It will be his ticket home.
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
We would not die in the company of a phony bastard such as he that would use scratches to get purple hearts and cut short his tour of duty by 8 months. Get the fuck out of my sight! You are not worthy to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
When St. Crispin’s Day comes around every one who returns home will look at this day proudly.
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
The night before St. Crispin’s day he’ll roll up his sleeves and show the scars and tell him he got them on St. Crispin’s Day at Agincourt.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.
He may forget other stuff in old age, but not the Battle of Agincourt!
Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
All of our names will be remembered.
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
While knocking down some brewskis,
This story shall the good man teach his son;
The old veteran will teach his son.
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
And on this day from now until the end of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
our small but happy force, this band of brothers
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
Anyone who fights with me will be my brother. He won’t return to England and stab us all in the back by falsely accusing us of war crimes. (OK. I added that last part to make this more relevant to today.)
This day shall gentle his condition;
This day will make him a better person.
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
If he’s lower class this will make him upper class. (And he won’t even have to marry for it.)
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
And all those pussies back home in bed,
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
will know that they were wusses because they didn’t have the balls to be with us.
Now lets go kill us some Frogs!
Before the Battle of Agincourt,
25 October 1415
And Kenneth Branagh.
The above clip always gives me goosebumps.
Another little point of history: Henry V was the first English king after the Norman invasion to speak English.